Museum display for Glasgow 2014 cycling heroines

Aileen McGlynn, right, and Louise Haston at the Blood, Sweat and Gears display. Picture: John Devlin

Aileen McGlynn, right, and Louise Haston at the Blood, Sweat and Gears display. Picture: John Devlin

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A NEW display focusing on the double silver medal-winning athletes, Aileen McGlynn, OBE and Louise Haston has opened at Riverside Museum, Glasgow. Blood Sweat and Gears traces their personal journey to success in the Para-Sport Track Cycling competitions at the ‘best-ever’ Commonwealth Games.

The iconic Queen’s Baton Relay is part of the display, alongside a life-sized fibreglass statue of the Glasgow 2014 mascot Clyde.

It was the first time Paralympic cycling events had been included in the Commonwealth Games and the display reflects on this significant moment in sports history by focusing on the athletes’ journey to the Games and their subsequent success.

Glasgow Museums’ contemporary collection, Riverside Museum embarked on a ground-breaking initiative.

Thought to be the first of its kind by any UK museum, it partnered them with the Paralympic gold medal winning pairing. Glasgow Museums loaned the athletes a new tandem and all associated kit for use in training and competition at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, after which time the objects became part of the city’s permanent collection.

Dressed in their familiar Team Scotland tracksuits, with medals in hand, McGlynn OBE and Haston were among the very first people to visit Blood, Sweat and Gears.

McGlynn said: “The summer of 2014 was an incredible time for me, competing in front of a home crowd really was a dream come true and winning two silver medals in the process was the icing on the cake.

“I’m delighted to have had the support of Glasgow Museums in this groundbreaking project. It’s a huge honour to be asked to share my Commonwealth Games journey with the visitors at Riverside. It’s a little strange, but a very special experience to walk in to the museum and see both my first bike and the tandem I competed on form part of a display.

“It completes my journey beautifully and I’m touched to be part of something which celebrates such a momentous summer for the city.”

Haston said: “Coming into Riverside and taking in the new display transported me straight back to the velodrome last summer and the deafening roar that greeted Aileen and I as we competed for Team Scotland.

“I still find it quite emotional; it was like nothing I’d ever experienced before.

Blood Sweat and Gears is special because it not only celebrates the success of Glasgow 2014, but the long, often challenging journey that led up to it.

“Like me, many people gained a great deal from the city staging such a prestigious sporting event and it’s fantastic to be part of not only the sporting, but the cultural legacy of the Games.”

In Blood, Sweat and Gears the athletes reveal their inspiration and where their journeys began. Through carefully selected objects – some personal to Aileen and Louise, such as others associated with the city’s Commonwealth experience – they provide a real insight into training, participating in the Queen’s Baton Relay, living in the Athletes Village and ultimately competing and celebrating success at Glasgow 2014. The display features items from the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and those used during competition to explore the extreme highs and lows experienced by sportspeople performing on the world stage.

It charts the trials of training, the personal sacrifices such achievement requires and the resilience to adapt to unforeseen events.

• Blood, Sweat and Gears is situated in the North Window of Riverside Museum, where it will remain until 6 March 2016. It follows on from The Road from Delhi, which charted Glasgow’s journey as host city of the Commonwealth Games from the Closing Ceremony in Delhi in 2010 to Summer 2014. For more information visit www.glasgowmuseums.com/riverside

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